What can we expect from the Malta Budget?

What a way to start the week – settling down to watch one of the major events of the year that affects your finances.

We’ll find out the government’s plans for tax and spending for the year ahead on Monday night.

Here’s your essential guide from 89.7 Bay.

 

When is the Budget?

The big speech is on Monday 14 October and starts at about 6pm.

Budget Day is always a tricky one for any Maltese finance minister.

He has a number of competing challenges –  some of them economic, some of them political.

The speech in Parliament in Valletta usually lasts between around 60 and 90 minutes.

Who is the Finance Minister?

Arguably, the second most powerful person in government, behind the Prime Minister.

Professor Edward Scicluna was appointed as Finance Minister in March 2013.

He served as Chairman of the Malta Council of Economic and Social Development and later as chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority.  He is also a former director of the Central Bank of Malta.

Prof Scicluna was also a Member of the European Parliament from 2009 to 2013.

He is married to Astrid and they have two children Mark and Katya.

What are the big themes?

In his pre-Budget document, finance minister Edward Scicluna said the theme for this year’s Budget would be ‘sustaining inclusive growth’.

Everyone agrees that Malta has experienced growing pains in recent years because of the massive growth in the economy.

Malta’s booming economy has put pressure on schools, hospitals, the property market and the roads.

We can expect measures to be announced to safeguard the environment and improve Malta’s road network, as well as a plan to raise the quality of Malta’s tourism product.

Extra cash is expected to be set aside for Malta’s schools and the health service.

Will taxes rise?

Probably not.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that the budget will not see any tax hikes and will ‘offer people peace of mind’.

He said that no new taxes would be introduced.

How will pay and benefits be affected?

There’s some speculation that the level of income at which workers pay income tax could be frozen.

There’s also likely to be good news for pensioners.

Pensions are set to increase for the sixth year in a row.

People with disabilities who are unable to work are also likely to see a rise in their benefits.

 

What about other measures?

The government has big ambitions to get as many electric cars as possible on Malta’s roads.

The Prime Minister has warned that Malta needs to shift away from petrol and diesel cars to reduce emissions and climate change.

The Budget speech is expected to reveal the date when all new cars bought in Malta will have to be electric-powered.

Joseph Muscat said: ‘Our biggest polluter is cars and we need to take a brave decision going forward.

‘We are not going to take away people’s cars. We are going to announce a date after which any car which is imported has to be one which runs on electricity or hydrogen.’

… and Brexit?

Of course.

This is the final Malta Budget when the UK is part of the European Union, so how the Maltese economy is prepared for the UK’s exit will clearly be a closely watched part of the speech.

The government is already working to prepare Maltese businesses who will be impacted by a possible no-deal Brexit.

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